Not chewing food, eating too fast, eating and intentionally committing to losing weight, are serious dysfunctional eating habits. Eating has its function in your health and well being.
We all need to get back to the basics of how to eat out food and understand why eating right supports your digestion process.
Digestion is a simple process where large insoluble food particles are broken down into smaller water-soluble molecules so that they can be absorbed by blood and give energy to different parts of our body. The process of digestion has a few stages and I’ll take you through all of them.
Easy and safe to swallow
Chewing is the first stage of the digestive system. The moment you smell or see food, or even think of it, you’re saliva get’s ready! When you chew your food, the food particles break down into little pieces that are easier to swallow.
Chewing gives your saliva, which contains a lot of enzymes, an opportunity to mix with those food particles and break them down into smaller food particles. Wrong chewing has nothing to do with bad manners (eating with the mouth opened).
The first sign of good chewing is that the bolus does not struggle to go down your throat. Take some time and watch people while they’re eating food from a shared place…more than often, they will struggle to swallow their food.
There’s a rush in eating shared meat, fish or even chips. The person appears to be chewing the meat normally, but they swallow it so fast before it’s time to swallow. It’s some kind of internal panic of missing out on meat that’s left on the plate. Improper chewing affects how your body digests that food.
When you chew your food well, the food rolls up into a bolus, and the tongue helps to push the food particles down into your throat.
This is you swallowing. The food travels through a long pipe called oesophagus, also known as the food pipe.
After swallowing, food takes 4 hours in your stomach
When the food particles have traveled through the food pipe, their next destination is the stomach where those particles hang out for approximately 4 hours.
The stomach releases a lot of acids and enzymes which further break down the food particles so that these particles can be absorbed by your body. An enzyme called pepsin present in the stomach helps break down the proteins. A lot of bacteria is also destroyed in the stomach so that we don’t fall sick.
Converting the food into nutrients for your blood
The next destination – the small intestine. Once the food particles reach the small intestine, a lot of juices from the liver and pancreas help break down those particles.
The liver secretes bile which helps break down fats and the pancreas releases other enzymes to help digest all kinds of food particles.
Now that the food particles are broken down, the small intestine absorbs them and transfers them to our body through blood.
The small intestine has 3 separate sections, the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. Most nutrients are absorbed in the duodenum and jejunum. The duodenum absorbs protein, carbohydrate and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, sodium, zinc and chloride.
In the jejunum, Vitamin C, B1, B2 and folic acid are absorbed in addition to the remaining starches in the form of glucose or proteins passed from the duodenum. The fat-soluble vitamin (ADEK), fat, cholesterol and amino acids are absorbed in the ileum.
The particles that are not absorbed by the small intestine reach the large intestine. Now, the large intestine absorbs the remaining water, sodium and potassium and sends the waste material out of your body.
Listen to your body
See, our bellies and brains are physically and biochemically connected in a number of ways. First of all, our intestines are physically linked to our brain through the vagus nerve, which sends signals in both directions.
Interestingly, even though if this is severed, our intestines can still continue to function fully without a connection to the brain, suggesting they have a mind of their own. Secondly, our brains are made up of a hundred billion neurons which continuously send messages to tell our bodies it’s time to eat or stop!
Listen to your body, when you’re thirsty, drink water, when you get the hunger pangs, eat some food, and when you feel pressed, take a long or short call. Failure to do this makes you uneasy.
The types of fats that you eat throughout life can drastically change the types of bacteria that decide to reside in your intestines. Our health is so dependent not only upon nourishing ourselves but upon feeding other living microorganisms that live inside of us. Creepy!